Conventional wisdom has it that if you want good Greek food in NYC, you need to go up to Astoria. I’ve been walking past Athens, a Greek restaurant on 6th Ave here in Brooklyn, for years without stopping in. I like Greek food, and it’s pretty close to my apartment, but for some reason I never went in. Carolyn and I had been talking about trying it, but somehow never actually went. But when my parents wanted to come in to Brooklyn to meet us for lunch it seemed like the perfect occasion to finally give Athena a try.
We started out a with a trio of appetizer dips — potato with garlic, artichoke with peppers, and hummus — which came with vegetarian stuffed grape leaves and olives, as well as some warm pita triangles. We also got a special appetizer of mushrooms stuffed with feta and topped with tomato sauce.
I couldn’t decide between a few different entrees, so I split the difference and ordered the vegetarian version of the Spartan Combo. This consists of moussaka (thinly sliced eggplant and tomato sauce), pasticchio (pasta baked with a layer of thick bechamel), both with crumbled falafel instead of ground beef, as well as a spinach pie and a greek salad. It was so much food we had plenty leftover to take home. Everything, from the appetizers through the entree, tasted fresh and delicious. I found myself wondering why we had never been.
Athena seems to be a family-run restaurant. Our server appeared to be one of the owners, and he referred multiple times to his brother’s recipes. He also brought us complimentary “Windex” shots — ouzo, blue Curacao, and Sprite — that we could have done without. I drank two of them.
Athena — 535 6th Ave